Parkinson's Awareness

Making Headlines

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signs Proclamation for Parkinson's Awareness Month.

Click on the image below for a copy of this file.


City of Peoria, Office of the Mayor, Proclamation



City of  East Peoria Mayor , Proclamation




Don Bohland


PEKIN - Donald Edward "Don" Bohlander, 80, of Pekin passed away at 6:29 a.m. Sunday, July 26, 2015, at OSF Richard L. Owens Hospice Home in Peoria.

Don crossed his final finish line after a long and courageous battle with Parkinson's disease. He was formerly of Glasford.

Born Sept. 19, 1934, in Pekin to Edward and Flora (Pfeiffer) Bohlander, he married Beverly Bishoff, and together they had four children, Edward (Kathy) Bohlander and Debbie (Terry) Parker, both of Glasford, Peggy Rogers of King George, Va., and Lori Fleming of Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

Also surviving are special son-in-law, Chuck Fleming of Lacon; nine grandchildren; several great-grandchildren; and one sister, Lois Arnold of Pekin.

He married Valarie (Freeman) Zander on July 2, 1988, in Glasford. She survives. On that special day in July of 1988, he became a loving and supportive stepfather to Val's two children, Kyndall (Shannon) Zander and Kaci (Erich Zimmerman) Zander, both of Pekin; and stepgrandfather to Scout Zander, Owen Sipka, Vann Zander and Emma Zimmerman.

His parents preceded him in death.

He was a 1952 graduate of Timber Township High School in Glasford.

Don worked for Illini Bluffs School District 327 in Glasford for 28 1/2 years, retiring in 1999 as the Director of Transportation. He later worked in maintenance at the Pekin Country Club and for the Pekin Park District at Lick Creek Golf Course.

Don raced stock cars for many years and won more stock car racing championships in Peoria than any other driver in the history of the sport. Seven years after he took a 1942 Ford Coupe onto a track for his first race in 1954, he won his first season championship at Mount Hawley Speedway, the forerunner to the Peoria Speedway. He went on from there to almost unparalleled success. He won nine more season championships, took his first state championship in 1965 and then chalked up six more between 1967 and 1978. He won point championships at five tracks, Peoria, Mount Hawley, Sterling, Freeport and Davenport. In 1974 and 1975, he was a regular on the stock car circuit of the United States Auto Club (USAC) and raced at such major tracks as the Daytona Speedway, Talladega, Pocono and Michigan International. During his 45-year racing career, he won more than 350 feature races at more than 25 tracks, escaping serious injury in all but one race, a feature duel in 1982 at Tupelo, Miss., when his car rolled end-for-end six times. Among his many honors, he was presented a plaque in 1998, his final year of competition, calling him a Mississippi Valley racing legend. Don was inducted into the Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame in 1999 and in August of 2011, he was inducted into the National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame. In 2012, he was inducted into the Illinois Stock Car Hall of Fame. He also was an inductee of the Peoria Old-timers Racing Club.

He was a member of Pekin Moose Family Center 916 and a former member of Caterpillar Motor Sports Club.

An avid golfer, Don enjoyed hunting and was a fan of Shaun Livingtson.

His funeral will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, July 30, 2015, at Preston-Hanley Funeral Homes & Crematory in Pekin. Chaplain Chuck Wilcox will officiate. Visitation will be from 4 until 7 p.m. today at the funeral home. Burial will be in Glendale Memorial Gardens in Pekin.

Don was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2001, and shortly thereafter his family and friends founded the Don Bohlander Parkinson's FundRACERS in hopes of finding a cure for this disease. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Don Bohlander Parkinson's FundRACERS, 2213 September Lane, Pekin, IL 61554; or Dreams for Seniors, 514 Court St., Pekin, IL 61554.

To express condolences online, visit












© 2012-2016 Parkinson's Association of Central Illinois. All Rights Reserved.

Hearts to Hands is a 501c(3) not for profit organization and receives no government or public funding.